Resistance!

The Northern Territory has the highest rate of youth detention in the country, six times the national average. Of those detained in the juvenile justice system 97% are Aboriginal youth.

There have been a number of reports and investigations in the past two years into the treatment of Aboriginal youth in custody. They show that by deliberate design and policy Aboriginal youth are treated in a barbarous, inhumane and illegal way.

On March 25 university students and supporters of accessible education participated in National Day of Action rallies against the ongoing attacks on education. There were rallies in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Tasmania and Wollongong.

After nearly four months of protesting, students have helped defeat the Higher Education Reform Bill for the second time.

However, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has promised that he “won’t give up”, indicating that the bill will be put before the Senate once again, with further concessions to crossbenchers.

Members of the NSW Education Action Network (EAN), locked themselves onto the door of the office of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Micheal Spence, on March 16 to pressure him to come out against the bill. As it stands, Spence still supports the bill.

Every activist has at some point been told that activism is pointless today, that it achieves nothing and hasn’t since the ’70s. Others say that there’s no point to feminist activism in particular because we already have gender equality. A quick look at the issues feminists are struggling for, and the wins we’ve had recently, show that neither claim is true, nor are they likely to be for some time.

1. Zoe’s Law

Memo to concern trolls Annabel Crabb and Howard-era minister Amanda Vanstone: take your own advice and stop being selfish thugs and bullies. And if Fairfax journalist Crabb is going to criticise student protests for being “outdated”, she should drop the 1950s style housewife persona.

In a May 23 Sydney Morning Herald article, Crabb said she was “concerned” that thousands of students taking part in a recent national day of action against increased university fees were going about things the wrong way. Take notice students of Australia. Activism, you’re doing it wrong.

Tom Raue and other activists at the University of Sydney have been banned from campus for being involved in protests against foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Raue has been arbitrarily singled out for disciplinary action. Raue works on campus, and this ban might mean he loses his job.

On May 28, about 100 students and staff attended a protest to defend these students. Student demands are simple and were slipped under Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence's door.

The savage cuts to education announced in early May have stirred students into action across Australia.

On May 28, the University of Western Sydney Education Action Group (EAG) held a meeting on the Bankstown campus to organise students, and work with staff to defend quality tertiary education.

With two-thirds of Australian university students living below the poverty line and one in five students skipping meals, students are among the most financially vulnerable sectors.

Resistance and the Socialist Alliance held a joint educational conference called “How to Make a Revolution” for young people in Brisbane over December 13 – 15.

About 80 people from around the country attended over the weekend, mostly young people wanting to discuss all things political, activism and more importantly what strategies socialists should be using in Australia to take the movement forward.

Throughout the conference there was a running theme of mass action strategy, and the importance of forming alliances with the broadest layer of people to win demands.

Liam Flenady is the Socialist Alliance candidate for the Brisbane seat of Griffith and a member of Resistance. This is an extract from a talk he gave to a forum titled: “People and planet before profit: A plan for a democratic Australia.”

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You might ask why we need a plan for a democratic Australia. Don’t we already have one? We elect our representatives at local, state and federal level, don’t we?

Brilliant poet Bertolt Brecht once said: “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn't hear, doesn't speak, nor participates in political events. He doesn't know the cost of life; the price of the bean, of the fish, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions.

“The political illiterate is so stupid that he swells his chest saying he hates politics. The imbecile doesn't know that from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child and worst things of all, the bad politician."

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